Barrasso: Vindicated by Obama's Move on Catastrophic Health Coverage

Saturday, 21 Dec 2013 11:04 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Sen. John Barrasso says he feels vindicated by President Barack Obama's decision to allow people whose insurance has been canceled to buy catastrophic insurance coverage after dismissing Republican suggestions on the issue nearly four years ago.

"The president said it was awful — but, now, he is admitting that due to the hardships that have been presented because of the healthcare law, that it is now OK to have catastrophic care," the Wyoming Republican told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his Fox News Channel program Saturday.

In February 2010, Obama dismissed suggestions from Barrasso and his fellow Wyoming Republican, Sen. Mike Enzi, that such coverage be included in his healthcare plan at the White House Health Summit.

Story continues below video.

The next month, Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.

But on Thursday, the White House made the surprise announcement that those who have lost their coverage because of Obamacare could now buy catastrophic coverage.

"Catastrophic coverage is the right approach for a number of people," Barrasso, a former orthopedic surgeon, told Huckabee on Saturday. "It's helpful.

"It's the kind of thing that actually helps people avoid bankruptcy, helps people avoid the loss of their house, or their kids having to quit school because of some terrible health emergency.

"What the president was arguing and disagreeing with four years ago, it just seems that in the last week, he has embraced them," Barrasso said.

The senator added that legislation introduced by both he and Enzi, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, this week would force the administration to reverse last month's move to delay next year's open enrollment season for Obamacare health coverage until after the 2014 congressional elections.

Barrasso told Huckabee he bill would help Americans plan better, as they would know how much their premiums would be in 2015 sooner rather than later.

"People need to know what they're premiums are the following year so they can plan," the senator said. "They can budget. They know what the costs are going to be.

"The president continues to try to mislead the American people, and this legislation tries to prevent that."

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